Consumption and drinking behavior of beef cattle offered a choice of several water types.

Lardner, H.A., Braul, L., Schwartzkopf-Genswein, K.S.G., Schwean-Lardner, K., Damiran, D., Darambazar, E., and others (2013). "Consumption and drinking behavior of beef cattle offered a choice of several water types.", Livestock Science, 157(2-3), pp. 577-585. doi : 10.1016/j.livsci.2013.08.016  Access to full text


Over 2 years, four, 20 d preference trials were conducted to determine the effects of eight different water types on water consumption and drinking behavior of beef steers. Water types included (1) DE (direct entry, untreated dugout water animal entry allowed); (2) UA (unaerated dugout water); (3) AE (aerated dugout water); (4) CC (coagulated and chlorinated dugout water); (5) CO (coagulated and ozonated dugout water); (6) W1 (type 1 ground water from well at site), (7) W2 (type 2 ground water from well 1 km from site); and (8) W3 (type 3 ground water with high sulfates). Each year, 12 different British cross steers (60 wk of age) were blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to one of the three, 0.5-ha paddocks. During each 20 d preference trial, and within each paddock, four steers were provided with four distinct types of water, in four separate troughs. Every fifth day, the water types were moved between troughs so that within the trial period each water type occupied each trough position for 4 d. Water consumption (L/d), drinking time (s/d) and number of visits to troughs were measured. In three out of the four trials, there was an effect (P<0.05) of water type on consumption. In Trial 1, steers consumed more (P<0.05) W1 water compared to AE, DE and CO water types. In Trial 3, consumption was greater (P<0.05) for UA and AE water compared to W3 (high sulfate) water. In Trial 1, drinking time (duration/d) was greater (P<0.05) for steers consuming either AE or W1 water compared to DE or CO water. The most consumed water was not chemically treated but untreated water, with sulfate and total dissolved solid levels less than 2000 and 3000 mg/L, respectively.

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